Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vague Terrain

As reported today by the invaluable BLDG BLOG, EMI has announced that millions of unsold copies of Robbie William's 2006 album Rudebox will be crushed and sent to China to be recycled, primarily in the form of paving the roads.

While at their core, Compact Discs are polycarbonate plastic and aluminum, and while I don't care for the music of Mr. Williams, I would like to believe these new roads will retain the mystique of their origins.

Applying the term/pun/play-on-words Musique Concrete (which literally translates to "Concrete Music") to this process is absurdly cutesy, not to mention vapid. Still there is something interesting about this inversion of the avant-garde tradition, the haunted remnants of pop music becoming the unnatural world.

While many contemporary artists, including Matmos, Matthew Herbert, and Akufen, have updated the Musique Concrete tradition to astonishing effect, perhaps in the age of immaterial digital music exchange, the physical objects of sound can mutate the landscape itself, as opposed to the other way around.
This impossible parable of sound becoming a physical structure is one I am obsessed with, cutesy or otherwise.

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